The price of health care

Updating the great health care experiment in Massachusetts, the one signed by Gov. Mitt Romney that requires everyone in the state to have health insurance:

The Boston Globe has obtained documents showing the cost of the plan is expected to double over the next three years. The state also vastly underestimated the number of people who would need to enroll in its Commonwealth Care program.

The Globe is also doing some fact checking on Gov. Romney’s claims about the plan.

“The bill that I submitted to the Legislature didn’t cost $1 more than what we were already spending,” he said Wednesday night during a GOP debate. “However, the Legislature and now the new Democratic governor have added some bells and whistles.”

In fact, Romney signed the law in 2006 as modified by the Legislature, approving most of the changes, but vetoing a few provisions that were overridden. Lawmakers then estimated that the initiative would cost the state only a small amount of new money in the first few years. It is now apparent that both Romney and lawmakers underestimated the cost of insurance subsidies as well as other parts of the initiative, largely because they based their projections on low estimates of the number of uninsured and the rising price of insurance. When the law was passed, neither Romney nor the Legislature estimated the costs beyond next year because they believed the enrollment growth would be all but complete.

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